I know, y’all. It’s frustrating! The rules change, and they change quickly. They rarely change in your favor, am I right? Well, in an effort to help you out, I’ve compiled the list of the five most important things to do before any international trip during the pandemic. These are not meant to be super detailed, since the details can change quickly. This is list meant to point you in the right direction in a time of chaos and confusion. Comment below with questions, and I’ll try to help you answer them!
1. Check requirements in the country you’ll be visiting.
Every country’s policies are different. That makes it challenging, but not impossible. Don’t rely on blogs to have the most up-to-date information–we bloggers try to be helpful, but we can’t be on top of another country’s policies in a reasonable timeframe. Go to the country’s website, and check the date at the top to see when it was last updated. Checking with the country you’ll be visiting is the only way to know you have the most current, most correct information. Some questions to research are:
- Do you have to test before you go? Or upon arrival? Or not at all?
- Do you have to be vaccinated to visit?
- Do you have to quarantine upon arrival, whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated?
- What are the country’s policies regarding COVID-19 and travel?
One policy gets the prize for consistency and longevity: Tips for Wearing a Mask on a Long Flight
2. Order COVID tests to take with you.
Yes, you will most certainly be able to get tested at your destination, but it will simply cost as much as it costs, and it might not be cheap. For example, getting tested at the airport in Brussels will run you between €50-€70 ($57-$80 USD). You can order a pack of six rapid tests from eMed that can be used at home before your leave and at your destination before your flight to the United States.
Note: When you order, make sure the tests will not expire before your return. Take all the tests you don’t use before you leave, just in case. Don’t forget to pack them!
3. Research where to get tested at your destination.
You should certainly bring at least one test per person with you, but it’s also a good idea to know where you can get tested while in the country you’re visiting as well. Is there a pharmacy or testing station nearby? Are they doing testing at the airport? Find out.
Also applies here: What to Do If You Get Sick on Travel
4. Find out where you can quarantine if you test positive while traveling.
This can get expensive, but unless you have travel-related insurance that specifically outlines that quarantine is covered and how, you will likely have to pay out of pocket wherever you stay during quarantine, should you test positive for COVID-19 during your trip. Additionally, your hotel may or may not be willing or able to accommodate an infected person for quarantine purposes.
It’s so important to have a plan and know what your options are. Before our recent trip to Belgium, I e-mailed our hotel to ask if we would be able to quarantine there, should we test positive during our stay. They said yes, and they also explained what protocols they had in place should that happen–how to get food, whether or not I’d be able to leave the room (I would not), etc. E-mail or call your accommodation to see what your options are, should you test positive.
5. Get tested before your flight to the U.S.
This applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status or nationality. As of December 6, 2021, everyone intending to fly to the United States must show a negative COVID test. This must be either rapid test or PCR test taken “1 day before travel,” which is defined as the day before, or the day of, travel. This is not a 24-hour period, this is up to one day before your flight. For more information, check the CDC website about this requirement.
Note: Only vaccinated non-U.S. citizens are allowed to fly to the U.S. at the time I’m writing this. Both vaccinated and non-vaccinated U.S. citizens are allowed to fly back to the U.S., but only with a negative COVID test taken the day, or the day before, your flight to the U.S.
Need more? I have several pandemic travel resources on my Health and Wellness Page under “Coronavirus.” It’s not the most fun topic, but it’s essential to be prepared at the moment!
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